Regional conference on beneficial ownership gathers 18 African countries representatives in Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa – 23 May 2023 – The EU Global Facility on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (EU GF-AML/CFT) on Tuesday, 23 May 2023 kicked off a regional conference on beneficial ownership (BO) as it relates to anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing. The conference is being held in collaboration with the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) secretariat and the Financial Intelligence Centre of the Republic of South Africa.
Held under the title “Beneficial Ownership Disclosure Frameworks in Practice – From Risk Assessment to Beneficial Ownership Registers”, the three-day conference will witness the participation of more than 70 representatives from 18 countries on the African continent, as well as the participation of (TBC) attendees online.
In her opening remarks, Director of the FIC of South Africa, Adv Xolisile Khanyile said “Criminals rely on being able to hide their proceeds and creating distance between themselves and the source of their illicit proceeds. By having timely and accurate information on the beneficial owners of accounts and of property held by corporate vehicles, as well as the source of funds for corporate vehicles, we will be able to better protect the financial system from abuse.”
For her part, ESAAMLG Executive Secretary Fikile Zitha, noted: “this workshop, which is a continuation of the regional BO workshop held in September 2022 in Lusaka, aims to assist member countries in the proper application of transparency of legal persons and arrangements including the establishment of an appropriate framework capturing beneficial ownership information.”“With the great turnout we are seeing today, it sends a strong signal of commitment for adapting to the revised changes being brought,” she added.
The regional workshop, which will consist of interactive exchanges and open discussions, will allow participants to exchange best practices and further deepen their expertise on BO-related matters. Thematic presentations shall also be delivered by experts from Belgium, Latvia, Ukraine and Mozambique.
“Today’s conference shows the European Union’s strong commitment to combatting financial crimes and promoting transparency in the global financial system. We bring together representatives from many African countries, we foster collaborative efforts to establish effective beneficial ownership frameworks and we ultimately collectively safeguard our economies from illicit activities. The EU stands firm in its support for this conference. Together, we can build a more secure and accountable financial landscape for the prosperity of all,” said European Union Ambassador to South Africa, Sandra Kramer.
For his part, EU Global Facility Team Leader David Hotte welcomed the participation of representatives from 18 countries, saying “it is particularly impressive to witness the attendance of so many countries, which shows African nations’ committment to the enhancement of beneficial ownership frameworks within their respective jurisdictions. I am confident that these three days of exchanges will yield great results on risk assessment related to BO and BO registers”.
The conference is part of a series of technical assistance activities delivered by the EU GF-AML/CFT to partner countries around the world. Demand driven and tailor-made, the support is provided on a bilateral, regional and thematic basis. As of May 2023, the project has delivered bilateral assistance to 25 countries globally.